Situation: In the story I'm currently working on, I have a group of high school seniors who are contemplating what's next in their lives--for most of them this includes college. With Google I can find any number of higher-education schools in the area I want, but what I'm really looking for is a local's insight. My characters are fairly average, middle-class teenagers with minimal talent so they know not to expect scholarships at really prestigious schools. I'm simply looking for what university the average New York teen would apply to for a good education that's relatively inexpensive. (Although, as a bonus, one expensive private school would be good as well--one of the kids wants to shoot for the stars.)
For example, in Ohio (which is what I'm familiar with) most of my high school buddies were considering Ohio State University.
Edit: Thanks for all the great responses!